The Value of Field Trips in Higher Ed.

This is my 8th post for 9x9x25.

On Thursday, I went with Community and Justice Service (CJSP) students on a field trip to Beaver Creek Institution – a minimum and medium security correctional facility in Gravenhurst, ON.

Every year, the CJSP coordinator organized three visits for different correctional facilities in Ontario so students in the program are able to see one division of the correctional field these students can enter into after graduation. The students visit a minimum security adventure based justice program for youth where they stay for 3 days of team building, a maximum security provincial institution and the minimum/medium federal institution at Beaver Creek.

These experiences are vital for a number of reasons — students get an idea of if this line of work is for them or not, it gives them a glimpse into the types of clients they will be dealing with, it invokes a heightened sense motivation to be successful in the program because they can see the end goal, it allows the students the opportunity to ask questions to the correctional offers and sometimes offenders at those institutions. Personally, I also learned a lot about our prison system in Canada — it isn’t like it is portrayed in the movies or on TV!

I heard my students discussing the difference between a maximum security provincial prison they visited and the Beaver Creek Institution. I heard students talk about which one they would prefer to work in some day and why. I heard students talk about their worries working in the corrections field. I heard them talk about they almost forgot the inmates were in prison – most were polite to them. I heard students talk about it seems more challenging to be a female correctional officer than a male. It was amazing to hear the students reflect on their experiences during these field trips.

Although field trips are expensive endeavors, the rewards for our students are so great!

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